Scavenger hunters, history buffs and park enthusiasts descended on Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sunday to put a wrap on celebrating both the 50th and 75th anniversary of the two World’s Fairs held in the park.
Sunday was the end of the nearly year-long celebration of the historic events in the park. It began on April 22 when the Parks Department opened the Tent of Tomorrow for one day to the public.
This past weekend, families searched for hidden gems, took part in numerous outdoor activities and sat in on a concert from Beatles cover band Yesterday and Today, which were also honoring the 50th anniversary of the band’s visit to Queens.
Judy Dotson has lived in Forest Hills for the last 20 years, and although she wasn’t born in time to catch the last World’s Fair in Queens 50 years ago, she was out for the scavenger hunt to learn something new and explore the park.
“It was fun and I really learned a lot about the park and the World’s Fair that I didn’t know, and I’ve lived in Queens my whole life,” Dotson said.
Dotson added that while she regularly rides her bike and goes for runs in the park, she never noticed much of the historical significance left behind in the park from the World’s Fair.
“It was really fun,” she said.
Robert and Patty Wiedemeier both attended the 1964 World’s fair as children, however the married couple from Oceanside did not meet until many years later.
“I have vivid memories of sitting in the Pavilion, riding in the Mustang and trying to change the radio,” Robert recalled. “And going to the Sinclair exhibit and making a dinosaur out of molded plastic.”
The couple said they came to the park earlier in the year at the opening ceremonies to reminisce of their childhood in Queens, stopping in at the Queens Museum and the Queens Zoo during their visit.
“It really reminds be of being a kid again,” Robert said. “That was a time when there were no worries.”
With thousands out for the Breast Cancer Awareness walk earlier in the morning and the regular crowds of soccer players, park administrator Janice Melnick said many people who were there for the World’s Fair celebrations also had a chance to see what happens in the park on a daily basis.
“Today was a really wonderful day to be in the park because you got to see so many aspects of what goes on here,” Melnick said. “They really got to explore the park and see how important this park is to this community.”
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*Photos: Malcolm Pinckney/ NYC Parks